Why Doesn’t Canada Use Its “Pretending to Practice Witchcraft” Charge More Often?

pentagramA Quebec man, who goes by the name Professor Alfoseny, was arrested in April, 2014 and charged with fraud for saying he was a:

Great clairvoyant medium, solves your problems, return of the beloved, luck, gambling, protection, etc. Guaranteed results

and then taking money for said services. It seems that Professor Alfoseny, who is really a 36 year old man named Yacouba Fofana bilked people out of their money, some to the tune of $5,000, according to the Crown.

What is interesting in this case is Fofana not only received a charge of fraud but also a more peculiar charge of “pretending to practise witchcraft”. At first blush, this may seem like an old charge on Canadian law books that hasn’t been erased but it’s actually legitimate. Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46) section 365 pertains to:

Every one who fraudulently

(a) pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration,

(b) undertakes, for a consideration, to tell fortunes, or

(c) pretends from his skill in or knowledge of an occult or crafty science to discover where or in what manner anything that is supposed to have been stolen or lost may be found, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

The funny thing about this law is the word “fraudulently”. So you can legitimately pretend to use witchcraft? Most likely you can, but not for money but that isn’t all that clear in this law. Further, why isn’t this law used more often to arrest people charging money to read your future in tea leaves, or talk to the dead? Not significant enough? Just not reported? I’m curious! I do hope it isn’t because these things are seen as exempt.

Sorcery lands you in jail for up to six months but along with the fraud charge, Fofana could be facing up to 14 years in prison.

Read more here, and here.

Inclusiveness: Toronto Dominion Bank, LGBT and Atheists

A few months back, in March, I wrote about an unpleasant interaction between American Atheists and TD Bank when a notary at the Toronto Dominion Bank in Cranford, New Jersey had refused to notarize documents for American Atheists when she learned what American Atheists does. The notary informed them that she could not … Continue reading

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